Stoneman Students Call for Caution After High School Shooting
Eric's Ed: The Education
Surviving students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the victim of recent school shooting massacre that took the lives of 17 people (mostly students), spoke out at a recent CNN Town Hall event this February after the Valentine's Day tragedy. At the public forum, students were committed to questioning politicians including Florida Senators Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D), Representative Ted Deutch (D), Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch.
At the event, the #NeverAgain movement gained new traction as students, faculty and parents of students at Stoneman asked if democracy was broken and if future schools and the children in them would be safe with potential laws restricting the use of using, buying and selling semiautomatic weapons.
Junior Cameron Kasky asked: "So, Sen. Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future?"
Rubio could not tell the student from Parkland, Florida that he would deny future NRA donations but he did concede that he had changed his mind about which magazine sizes he wanted to be allowed for purchase.
He also said that he wanted to raise the age at which people can buy rifles; as of now, 18-year-olds can purchase those firearms, but it seems that public sentiment is turning the tides so that only people only as young as 21 can purchase any type of firearm.
Democrat Ted Deutch has been moved to co-sponsor a bill that would ban semiautomatic weapons from being sold, made or used by civilians. Students have also moved corporations such as United Airlines and Delta to cut their ties with the NRA.
Eric's Ed: The Editorial
Dana Loesch, spokesperson for the NRA, joined with Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre in saying that those in favor of more gun control are intent on eliminating some individual freedoms. That could not be further from the truth.
The people who are advocating for more gun control are trying to figure out ways in which to make their children more safe and secure in the face of future, inevitable tragedies. Many of the U.S.'s 300+ million citizens are aware that not all shooting deaths will ever be avoided. But there are ways in which we can air further on the side of caution.
Banning bump stocks that make the shootings like the Las Vegas massacre of dozens again possible and prohibiting the civilian purchasing of complementary semiautomatic weapons simply makes sense. Weapons that are specifically designed from a military standpoint to kill large amounts of people in a short amount of time should not be allowed in the hands of any citizen.
More comprehensive background checks are worth trying out as well. While the NRA says the data might not be comprehensive enough to prevent further tragedy, there might as well be a trial-and-error period in our society so that we can see that for ourselves.
The deaths in public mass shootings in the United States is a number unmatched by any other country in the world. As a Jamestown sporting goods store owner Randy Lookenhouse said, "We do have to find common ground. Sensible, responsible gun ownership never hurt anybody."